In a letter sent to friends, longtime Council for Entrepreneurial Development President Monica Doss said she is stepping down because she is “ready for a fresh challenge.”

Doss informed the CED board on Thursday that she is resigning effective May 31. Having led the group for 22 years and growing it to more than 5,000 members, Doss wrote that her decision was not due to health concerns. Doss also said she had not settled on what she wants to do next.

“The most common questions I’ve been asked are –

“Am I sick or is a family member sick?

“Answer: I am healthy as a horse, (husband) Jim is status quo – still with back problems but doing fine, and (son) Brendan is doing fabulously well in his new career at Near-Time,” she wrote.

“What are you going to do next?

“Answer: I have made no plans yet, but I anticipate that I will stay involved with entrepreneurship and/or a company on a regional or national level. For the next three months I am going to enjoy working with our team putting on our 25th annual venture conference and biotech conference. I’ve noodled many ideas for what I might do next, but I am going to give everything time to gestate and gel before making any decisions.”

Doss, who worked at the North Carolina Museum of Art before taking the CED job, said she was “very proud to have been involved with building such an important organization and have found it extraordinarily rewarding.”

Acknowledging that she had been tempted to leave CED before, Doss added, “I know now that I am ready for a fresh challenge.”

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the CED board and Doss said the change in leadership was a “joint announcement.”

Doss, 56, has overseen the growth of the CED from a Triangle to state-based organization with a membership that represents more than 1,100 companies. The CED puts on a large number of conferences, such as for venture capital, biotechnology and medical devices. The organization also offers training programs for entrepreneurs.

“I have resigned to pursue fresh opportunities after my service with CED this spring is complete,” Doss said in a statement. “I have truly enjoyed my role in building such an important organization. I expect to remain involved in entrepreneurial activities on a national and regional basis.”

Doss has received numerous awards over her career, including the national Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst & Young in 1999.

“Monica Doss has been an integral part of every success enjoyed by CED over the last 20 years,” said CED board chairman Mary Musacchia. “While regretting her decision, we fully support and understand her need for a new direction. Everyone associated with the organization owes heartfelt gratitude for Monica’s service here.”